Predicting the technology of the future may be fun, but it’s not easy.
So far, we haven’t seen the predictions of the 80’s for our times come true (Hoverboards, anyone? Self-tying shoe laces? Flying cars?).
In some cases, that’s good news by the way, as some predictions were pretty bleak.
But it shows how hard it is to correctly predict the development of technology. Bill Gates famously underestimated the impact of the Internet, as others did with personal computers, smart phone cameras and yes, even radio and TV. What do you expect technology to look like in the future?
The Word Economic Forum recently asked 800 experts about their predictions for technological developments in the near future. The video below show the results.
[Video via YouTube]
What stood out for me, is that it was ‘more of the same’ and not some new ‘big thing’. It’s a pretty safe bet that sensor technology will be applied to pretty much anything from shoes, to clothing, mattresses and more, since it already is. The technology of 3-D printing is already changing medicine in a big way. Nothing in this video was surprising, really…will the future really be more of the same? I doubt it.
The thing about the big technological disruptions is that they cannot be predicted. No one predicted how massive the influence of the Internet would be for instance, at least not to the extent of today. Going further back in time, even the invention of the steam machines that triggered the Industrial Revolution wasn’t recognized as life-changing at that time. Granted, it didn’t take long, but nobody expected the ramifications of the birth of modern industry to be that big.
It’s very possible that we’re already seeing the first seeds, the first contours of the next big technological change. We just don’t recognize it yet.